Residents of Chicago's 23rd Ward raised concerns about the city's tax increment financing (TIF) program after learning Wednesday evening that millions in economic development funds have yet to be spent in their community.
At the CivicLab's TIF town hall meeting at John F. Kennedy High School, Southwest Side community members learned that the six TIF districts located in the 23rd Ward had about $16.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013. Last year alone, the ward's TIF districts collected nearly $2.3 million in property tax revenue, according to the CivicLab's analysis.
Business owner and Southwest Side resident Martin Arteaga, who is running for alderman in the 23rd Ward, attended the meeting.
"There needs to be a lot more clarity and transparency as to where this TIF money is going," he told Progress Illinois. "Here in the 23rd Ward, particularly in the Midway Airport area along Cicero Avenue, you have a bunch of empty lots. We could use some of that money to redevelop that area and actually be able to expand our tax base, because we have thousands of people who pass through going to Midway Airport.
Workers at the Hudson News bookstore at both Midway and O'Hare
International airports say the company is not treating its North and
South Side employees equally, and they want the Chicago City Council to
investigate the issue.
Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), one of the
airport workers' advocates, introduced a non-binding resolution at
Wednesday's city council meeting that calls on the Aviation Committee to
hold a hearing about the compensation system and personnel practices
the company uses at both locations.
Hudson Midway workers receive
an average hourly wage of $8.92, while Hudson O'Hare employees are paid
an average of $10.05 per hour, Brookins' resolution reads. Hudson News
workers at O'Hare earn an average of $1.13 more an hour than their
counterparts at Midway, according to the hospitality union Unite Here
Local 1, which represents the Hudson News workers at O’Hare and Midway.
if you do the same work at the same company in the same city, do you
get paid less money?" Brookins said at a Wednesday morning news